Skull Rock sits on the shoulders of Temescal Ridge north of Temescal Gateway Park, delivering broad views over Santa Monica Bay. The head-shaped sandstone formation can be reach as an extension of Temescal Canyon Loop, bringing the hike to 3.8 miles. Skull Rock is perched an elevation of 1,500 feet and the trailhead is at approximately 1,550 feet, but this is not a gradual downhill hike because in the between, the trail rises to 1,725 feet. The hike climbs to the spine of Temescal Ridge from the west, before dropping down to Skull Rock.
The makeup of the trail at the start is rather unique. A concrete road switches up a steep slope composed of numerous drainage ditches. As you leave the affluent development off Palisades Drive, views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding mountains expand. After 0.2 miles, the concrete ends and there is dirt to tread on for the duration.